Having upgraded from a clunky old Orbit Orion bike and treated myself to a Ridgeback Horizon which arrived last week, I was throroughly enjoying the new experience - the Horizon is so light and responsive by comparison, and the power I felt in my legs was something to behold, plus I love the STI gears which are new to me. However, another novelty for me is the brakes on the drop bars, I cannot get enough leverage or grip on them and have trouble stopping or slowing down at a fast enough rate - hence I came a cropper this morning ... I was riding through the Cotswolds from Andoversford north to Winchcombe, eating up the hills and really enjoying it. The descent to Winchcombe is long and steep and I thought I was in control until near the bottom when I found I would not be able to brake fast enough at a junction. Heading relentlessly and very fast towards the opposite embankment, I subconsciously made the decision (or it may have happened anyway) to come down on my left side, which I did with the result that I slid at a great rate along some freshly gravelled road surface. I don't really remember the details at all, but there was a nasty large graze/gash on my left elbow and various cuts elsewhere. My ribs over my heart hurt like hell too. Miraculously, however, I didn't hit my head (helmeted) on anything. I was extremely fortunate in that a chap in a camper van (I only know him as Bob) stopped and took me and bike on board and home to Cheltenham. The only effect I could see on the bike was that the chain had come off, which I rectified when I got home. Having put the bike safely away, it was only then that a delayed reaction of pain and ache set in, although I had felt very dazed and shaky. And it was only when I took my shorts off (new last week too, and already holed in parts ) that I discovered a huge swelling like a melon on the top of my left thigh, which was really hard and tender to the touch. My wife and I decided eventually that I needed to get things checked out, so I went to A&E and spent an enthralling Sunday afternoon waiting around, having X rays and getting my deep and very dirty and weeping grazes treated. Nothing was broken, and the swelling is apparently just 'soft tissue damage'. I will not be put off cycling by this (my first ever accident of any note) but I am a little concerned about getting used to the new brakes. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. The bike appears to be, in all other respects well fitted to my body/reach/legs etc, I just am not used to the drop bar set up. By the way, I am seizing up by the minute, goodness knows how I will feel overnight and in the morning I don't know what hurts more, the arm or the leg, and the ribs still throb.